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Full text of "Mathura A District Memoir"

ABD-OT-NABI THE FOUHDER OF MODERN MATHURX.                    153
" The principal mosque of the place, erected on an eminence by the
famous Grhazi Khan, as a token of his triumph over the infidelity of the Hindus,
has been shattered to pieces, and a considerable part of the dome was swallowed
up daring the opening of the earth.
u Several slighter shocks have since occurred, but I do not hear tliey have
occasioned any further damage."*
The above description certainly exaggerates and also to some extent mis-
represents the effects of the shock upon the mosque. The gateway was cracked
from top to bottom, the upper part of one of the great minarets was thrown
down and one of the little corner kiosques of the mosqtte itself was also destroyed,
but the dome was uninjured. In 1875 the Sa'dabad family started -a sub-
scription for the repairs of the building and over Es. 5,000 were collected.
This sum I expended on the restoration of the fallen minaret and kiosque and of
the two kujras or alcoves at the sides of the court-yard. Several of the shops
that disfigured the approaches were also bought up and demolished. As soon
as I left, the work came to a standstill.
J                                                                                          i
. The mosque now appears out of place as the largest and nios>t conspicuous
edifice in what is otherwise a purely Hindu city, and there is also every rea-
son to suppose that it was founded on the ruins of a pagan temple.    But at
the same time it should be observed that all the buildings by which it is now
surrounded are of more modern date than itself.    It was not planted in the
midst of a Hindu population ; but the city, as we now see it, has -grown up
under its shadow.    Old Mathura had been so often looted and harried by the
Muhainmadans that, as has been noted in other parts of this work, it had
actually ceased to exist as a city at all    It was a place of pilgrimage, as it
had ever been ; there were saraes for the   accommodation of travellers and
ruins of temples and a few resident families of Brahmans to act as cicerones,
living for the most part in the precincts of the great temple of Kesava Deva, or
still further away towards Madhuban ;  but it was as much a scene of desolation
as Goa with its churches and convents now is, and on the spot where tne pre-
sent Mathura stands there was no town till Abd-un-ISTabi founded  it.    The
whole of the land was in the possession   of Jluhammadans.    The ground,
which he selected as the site of his mosque, he purchased from some butchers,
and the remainder he obtained from a family of Kazis, whose descendants
still occupy what is called the Kushk Mahalla, one of the very few quarters
* For the knowledge of this curious letter I am indebted to tfte courtesy of Mr. A. Constable,
of the Oadh wad Bohilkhand Railway, who seat me a copy of it.
39